Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Seek and share information about clerkship applications, clerkship hiring timelines, and post-clerkship employment opportunities.
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are sharing sensitive information about clerkship applications and clerkship hiring. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned."
Anonymous User
Posts: 326586
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:38 am

Top 5% at T50 in the south east, senior position on law review, biglaw offer accepted after law school.

Looking to apply for a clerkship in a California district court two years out from law school. I know I have a pretty good shot at getting one in the state where my school is located, but I really want to make the jump to California. I don't have any ties.

What are my realistic chances at this? Does anyone have any success stories?

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7719
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby lavarman84 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:31 pm

It's not impossible. Your best chance is with the SDCA or EDCA because they are less competitive. However, it's worth applying broadly and seeing what you can get. Obviously, you're limited yourself by picking solely CA, so odds are that you come up empty. If you have any connections (no matter how attenuated), work them. Ultimately, it's tough to get out of the pile, but you never know what might catch a judge or clerk's eye.

I went to a t50 law school in the Southeast and landed D. Ct. interviews all over the country (not in California, but in states nearby). Leveraging my D. Ct. experience, I was then able to land interviews all over the country for COAs (including the 9th). However, I applied super broadly and didn't care where I ended up.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326586
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:32 am

lavarman84 wrote:It's not impossible. Your best chance is with the SDCA or EDCA because they are less competitive. However, it's worth applying broadly and seeing what you can get. Obviously, you're limited yourself by picking solely CA, so odds are that you come up empty. If you have any connections (no matter how attenuated), work them. Ultimately, it's tough to get out of the pile, but you never know what might catch a judge or clerk's eye.

I went to a t50 law school in the Southeast and landed D. Ct. interviews all over the country (not in California, but in states nearby). Leveraging my D. Ct. experience, I was then able to land interviews all over the country for COAs (including the 9th). However, I applied super broadly and didn't care where I ended up.


Thank you for the encouragement! I'm not 100% limited to California only. I would just like to take advantage of a break in practicing by at least getting to live on the west coast. Ideally, it's to see if I would like to live there long term. Do you know of any district's out there that are more receptive (than others) to non-westcoast grads?

Also, would you say that my stats are at least competitive for clerkships outside of my school's state? I may be working with a district judge (internship) for a semester and will try to leverage this into a LOR, hopefully that helps too; I'm still a 3L.

lavarman84

Platinum
Posts: 7719
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby lavarman84 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
lavarman84 wrote:It's not impossible. Your best chance is with the SDCA or EDCA because they are less competitive. However, it's worth applying broadly and seeing what you can get. Obviously, you're limited yourself by picking solely CA, so odds are that you come up empty. If you have any connections (no matter how attenuated), work them. Ultimately, it's tough to get out of the pile, but you never know what might catch a judge or clerk's eye.

I went to a t50 law school in the Southeast and landed D. Ct. interviews all over the country (not in California, but in states nearby). Leveraging my D. Ct. experience, I was then able to land interviews all over the country for COAs (including the 9th). However, I applied super broadly and didn't care where I ended up.


Thank you for the encouragement! I'm not 100% limited to California only. I would just like to take advantage of a break in practicing by at least getting to live on the west coast. Ideally, it's to see if I would like to live there long term. Do you know of any district's out there that are more receptive (than others) to non-westcoast grads?

Also, would you say that my stats are at least competitive for clerkships outside of my school's state? I may be working with a district judge (internship) for a semester and will try to leverage this into a LOR, hopefully that helps too; I'm still a 3L.


It depends on the law school, but you're definitely competitive enough to apply. It's not really districts that are more receptive. It's individual judges. It's really luck of the draw. I don't know the West Coast judges well enough to be able to make a list. A strong LOR from a D. Ct. Judge will help.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326586
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also, would you say that my stats are at least competitive for clerkships outside of my school's state? I may be working with a district judge (internship) for a semester and will try to leverage this into a LOR, hopefully that helps too; I'm still a 3L.

Former CD Cal clerk here. My guess is that 20-30% of judges (at least at the district court level) couldn't care less where you went to school so long as you are near the top of your class there. You are definitely competitive for those judges. Its not a hard-and-fast rule, but often these judges did not themselves go to T14 schools, and instead worked their way up to federal judgeships through hard work in the state court system. In any case, you should apply broadly to CA district courts. Even among the judges that are not prestige-whores, it will still be a challenge to get noticed in a pile of applications a mile high, so you will have to get lucky and/or work your connections (have professors call, etc.). Good luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326586
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Chances at California Clerkship? (from southeast US)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:40 pm

If you’re looking West Coast and not just Cali, don’t forget about W.D. Wash and D. Or., both of which are less competitive than the four California districts and would still be really cool places to clerk (Seattle, Portland, or Eugene). E.D. Cal. is probably the most “gettable” California district (Sacramento and Fresno). S.D. Cal. is tricky because many of the judges there prefer to hire career clerks. N.D. Cal. and C.D. Cal. are two of the five or so most competitive districts in the country, but with your stats why not blanket them with apps—you’ve got at shot and all it will cost you is postage!



Return to “Judicial Clerkships?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.